Richard Laland

/Tag:Richard Laland

Two types of learning – which one is best?


Evolutionary biologists think of learning as being either social or asocial. Social learning is essentially copying - what is everyone else doing? - whereas asocial learning is accrued by interacting with the environment through trial and error. All learning is either social or asocial; we either learn through mimicry or experimentation, innovation or observation. When thinking about how to teach, it's worth considering the role of evolution in shaping the way we have adapted to think and learn. In our distant past, learning was a costly strategy - time spent learning was time we couldn't spend eating and reproducing - so [...]

Two types of learning – which one is best? 2017-07-05T07:14:34+00:00

"Understanding" and Occam's razor


At the beginning of the 20th century, the physicists Hendrik Lorentz and Albert Einstein both concluded independently that measurements of light speed would be the same for all observers. But while both arrived at the same results from their equations, Lorentz’s explanation relied on changes that take place in ‘the ether’. Because Einstein's paper On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies made no reference to a mysterious, undetectable substance, his explanation was accepted as being the most likely. Even after Einstein's theory of special relativity had been accepted, Lorentz wasn't willing to let go of his belief in 'luminiferous aether'. In 1909 he wrote, "Yet, I think, something may also [...]

"Understanding" and Occam's razor 2017-06-24T09:39:08+00:00